Last year, four academics published a paper in Conservation Biology, with the title, “Questioning REDD+ and the future of market-based conservation”. The paper starts with this memorable line, “Increasingly, one hears furtive whispers in the halls of conservation: ‘REDD+ is dead; it’s time to cut our losses and move on.’”
Earlier today, during a visit to Oslo, Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, met Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg. After the meeting, Solberg said, “If preliminary figures about deforestation in 2016 are confirmed, it will lead to a reduced payout in 2017.” She added that Norway’s rainforest payments to Brazil are “based on results”.
Rainforest Foundation UK has today written to Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, asking her to prevent Norwegian funding for an industrial logging project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The proposed project would hand over 20 million hectares of forest to timber companies.
In 2011, REDD-Monitor asked “Can REDD save the Amazon?”. Six years later, after Norway has poured more than US$1 billion into REDD in Brazil, it is clear that REDD is not a solution to Amazon deforestation. Deforestation fell from 2004 to 2012, but the reasons were nothing to do with REDD. Now deforestation is going back up.
Norway’s plans to save the rainforests in the Congo are coming under scrutiny in the Norwegian media.
In September 2015, Norway and a handful of European countries launched the Central African Forest Initiative. CAFI is aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo.
Norway launched REDD in Tanzania in 2008, with a promise to fund US$83 million over a five year period. But in a recent article in Development Today, Jens Friis Lund, Mathew Bukhi Mabele and Susanne Koch argue that Norway’s involvement in REDD in Tanzania “failed to produce models that work”.
The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility is supposed to help countries in the Global South reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It was launched at COP 13 in Bali in 2007. The Fund capital stands at US$850 million, of which US$1.12 billion is for the Readiness Fund, and US$750 million is for the Carbon Fund. But after nine years, the FCPF cannot point to a single country in which it has actually reduced deforestation.
In 1996, Uganda’s National Forest Authority awarded a 50 year licence covering an area of land just over 9,000 hectares to a Norwegian company called Green Resources. Twenty years later, local communities are still feeling the impacts of the company’s industrial tree plantations.
A new paper in World Development argues that REDD is, “the latest in a long row of conservation fads that have invoked great enthusiasm within the forestry-development sector, only to be dubbed a failure and abandoned at a later point in time”.